By Inna Snarska
Translation: Hanna Komar, John Farndon


Makar is four years old, he is afraid of air-raid sirens,
especially when caught on the street.
The little one wants to run home to hide,
he is not so afraid at home.
To calm my grandson somehow, I came up with a game-charm:
when the siren sounds, you have to say: „I’m a plane, I’m not afraid!“
– Nan, does the plane fly high?
– Yes, my sunshine.
– Higher than our house and higher than the clouds?
– Of course.
– Then I want to fly higher than the sirens and higher than the war.

The secret of life

dedicated to the defenders of Mariupol

You write her letters and don’t send them.
In your mind, you give thanks for being alive,
when you open your eyes and wake up.
It’s hard to take a nap here for even an hour or two,
her wings alone wrap you in peace for a moment.
You are so tired of pounding on the windowpane of immortality
that you no longer believe in death, although you see death all the time.
You are just thankful for being alive, just thankful…
And today you dreamed of the smell of her hair,
but how can you write about it?
You are just thankful in your mind that you are alive.
It is real hell around here…
but how can you describe it and do you need to?
You know only one thing: you have to withstand
and come home alive
because she is waiting for you.
You remember how her hair smells,
and it saves you, saves you, saves you…
This is the secret you share.
The secret of life.

You go back in the house,
and undo your grief-worn wings
outside the rain is dwindling
maybe it’s not about you,
your sky and everything
truly dear are held within
with love and sadness
and “come back soon” too.

You go out into the night
where line and page are yet alive,
then wake up in a world
where guilt and longing are no more,
you must wait in transit
for it to finally arrive
between now and the time
when there will be no war.